THE BULL-HEADED PREMIER 109 forests^with a pack of greyhounds and announce to the world: 'I am not going hunting/ or for a man to go with a fish-net to the lakes and declare: 1 am not going fishing.' It would be much better to stop the rumours by throwing away the fish-nets and sending home the hunting dogs." He trusted that the Emperor would be able to see clearly for himself that there was dissension and strife in the country. He should be able to deduce from the resignation of all the able ministers what the state of public opinion was like. After repeating most of the arguments against the current reforms, he drove home the idea that in carrying out these economic policies, the Emperor had already forfeited the people's support and public opinion was against him and against the regime. The letter was received in silence. In March, Su followed up with a third letter. The Emperor had in the interim issued an edict forbidding compulsory allocation of loans, but he was not ready to put a complete stop to these measures. Quoting Mencius, Su said this was like a chicken thief who said he was now ready to reform, and would steal only one chicken per month. What aggravated the situation was that in his capacity as magistrate at the capital, an office he had held since January 1071, he gave out as subject for the local examinations "On Dictatorship", which angered Wang Anshih greatly. Promptly, Su Tungpo was cashiered. Just as he predicted, although the Emperor might take his advice kindly, the politicians could get him in trouble by some framed-up charge. The brother-in-law and flunkey of Wang Anshih, Shieh Chii^gwen, set the wheels of the law moving against Su Tungpo. There was now a rumour that while he was carry- ing his father's coffin home in the long voyage back to Szechuen, he had made unwarranted use of government guards and had bought furniture and porcelain and possibly smuggled salt for profit. Officials were 'sent'out to the different provinces along the route which the Su brothers had travelled to collect data from boatmen, soldiers, and Custom officers. Su Tungpo probably did buy a lot of furniture and ipbrcelain, but there was nothing illegal about it. The couriers came back and reported that they could not find anything, and they certainly would have if they could. In his letter to his wife's brother, who was at this time living back at Szechuen, Su wrote: "Miss Twenty-Seven [Mrs. Su] is doing well and recently a son has been born to us. ... I have been a thorn in the sides of the authorities for a long time. Let them investigate all they want. I know they will only make fools of themselves. You may have heard of the rumour, but do not worry on my account."